In 2007, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law an energy bill that placed stringent efficiency requirements on ordinary incandescent bulbs in an attempt to have them completely eliminated by 2014. The law phased out 100-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs last year.
Proponents of government-imposed efficiency standards and regulations will say, “So what? There are still plenty of lighting options on the shelves at Home Depot; we’re saving families money; and we’re reducing harmful climate change emissions.”
The “so what” is that the federal government is taking decisions out of the hands of families and businesses, destroying jobs, and restricting consumer choice in the market. We all have a wide variety of preferences regarding light bulbs. It is not the role of the federal government to override those preferences with what it believes is in our best interest.
If families and firms are not buying the most energy-efficient appliance or technology, it is not that they are acting irrationally; they simply have budget constraints or other preferences such as comfort, convenience, and product quality. A family may know that buying an energy-efficient product will save them money in the long term, but they have to prioritize their short-term expenses. Those families operating from paycheck to paycheck may want to opt for a cheaper light bulb and more food instead of a more expensive light bulb and less food.
The man was A.P. Giannini who was said to be who Capra modeled the character of George Bailey as well as the bank president in Capra’s 1932 movie, American Madness, after. At the age of 14, Giannini left school and began working with his step father, Lorenzo Scatena, in the produce industry as a produce broker. By the time he was 31, he was able to sell much of his interest in this company to his employees and had planned to retire. However, one year later, he was asked to join the Columbus Savings & Loan Society, which was a small bank in North Beach, California.
Once he joined up, he found that almost nobody at the Savings & Loan, nor other banks, were willing to give loans to anyone but the rich or those owning businesses. At first, Giannini attempted to convince the other directors at the Savings & Loan to start lending to working class citizens, to give them home and auto loans, among other things. He felt that working class citizens, though lacking in assets to guarantee the loan against, were generally honest and would pay back their loans when they could. Further, by loaning them money, it would allow working class citizens to better themselves in ways they would not have been able to do without the money lent to them, such as being able to buy a home or to start a new business. He was never able to convince the other directors to begin lending to the working class.
Not to be dissuaded, he then set out to start his own bank. With $150,000 raised from various friends and family, Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in 1904, which would be a bank specializing in loaning money to the common man. The first Bank of Italy branch was in a converted saloon across the street from the Savings & Loan he had formerly been a member of. The assistant teller at the Bank of Italy was the former bartender of that very saloon.
Pajama Boy is the bookend to vero possumus, the faux-Greek columns, the Obama rainbow logo, cooling the planet and lowering the seas, hope and change, Forward!, “Yes, we can!”, the Nate Silver infatuation, Barbara Walters’ “messiah,” David Brooks’ crease, Chris Matthews’ tingle, and the army of Silicon techies who can mobilize for Obama but not for Obamacare. These are the elites without identities who feed on the latest fad. They are the upper-crust versions of those who once mobbed stores to buy the last Cabbage Patch Kids doll, or had to have a pet rock on their dresser. Obama, after all, was the lava lamp and Chia Pet of the young urban progressive.
If I were to focus on just two of the many characteristics of Pajama Boy nation in the Age of Obama, one would be that the consequences of one’s ideology apply always to someone else. Obama obsesses on inequality, but cannot even go through the populist motions of avoiding Martha’s Vineyard, or not dressing like a nerd for golf at the latest tony course.
He is an arugula-eating man of the people who tries to bowl only during election season. Michelle rags on the 1%, but still hits Costa del Sol and Aspen. Obamacare for us; for congressional staffers and insiders something quite different. A Nobel Prize and a half a billion dollars for guru Al Gore; and dumping Current TV on a fossil-fuelled, anti-Semitic authoritarian Middle Eastern regime to fund more good work of our green Elmer Gantry. Amnesty for illegal aliens, but private academies for liberal kids far from the ensuing chaos of the public schools. Pajama Boys are fiercely liberal so that they can fiercely avoid the people they so champion and are so afraid to live among.
Second, the architects of Pajama Boy nation always expect others to go on despite rather than because of them. The frackers must frack so that Obama can brag about their productivity, while he bites his lip and looks pained to billionaire coastal benefactors about pumping liquid into the bowels of their Mother Earth.
On Friday, Barack Obama was back out to again brag about his three supposed accomplishments: One, the deficit is shrinking; two, the gas and oil picture is brightening; and three, we are not witnessing anymore shut-downs of government over the debt ceiling. He should have added — “We do best when no one listens to me.”
Savings accrued from the sequester that was forced upon Obama by those Tea Party nuts in the House. Gas prices are dropping despite the efforts of Obama to stop fracking and horizontal drilling on federal lands. Senator Obama himself voted to shut down the government under George W. Bush, rather than to raise the debt ceiling — having once passionately adopted the very stance that he now demonizes others for.